The balcony where the dog lived

SATURDAY 18-5-24

Today was to be a chores day and so we didn't lie in, even though we didn't sleep too well last night. Thankfully we had awoken to a lovely blue sky with the usual breeze, so after scrubbing up we made a start.

Up went the washing line across our pitch ready to hold the bedding whilst the clothes airer which has been erected permanently since we arrived took the small bits and pieces.

I then made a start on the housework which was overdue, especially the bathroom. While I busied myself with that The Chef went shopping, promising me she's cross the dual carriageway further down the road where there is a pedestrian bridge.

That done it was lunchtime before we went for that walk down to the water's edge. It was high tide at 13:00, so that's when we set off knowing we wouldn't have as far to walk to get our feet wet.

The Spanish couple with the caravan almost opposite us must have been given police bail because today they arrived back and have continued with their construction project. Up on that wooden base has gone a small frame tent which is used as an outside kitchen. Once that was up they installed a small chest freezer and a kitchen unit containing several drawers. Sad we won't be here for their grand opening.

This afternoon is being spent doing the last few odd jobs and that will have to include washing the large nylon mat that sits outside the vehicle.

This evening we'll be popping across the road for a meal out, it's something we're trying to do more of on this trip, especially as it gives The Chef the evening off.

So tomorrow we move on up the coast to Camping Cabopino in Calahonda. It's not a campsite we're fond of but it's in a nice location. We'll be there for three nights giving us time to pop on the bus one day to Marbella and the second spent down on the beach and around the rather nice marina. When we leave there on Wednesday we've a busy day at the office driving up to Mojacar.

Ah........the barking dog story. I shall tell it again because after nine and a half years it still brings a smile to my face.

During our first visit here to Camping La Bella Vista we were plagued by  noisy dogs. There was one in particular which spent the day on the balcony of a top floor apartment within a complex next to the campsite. The dog couldn't be seen, only heard because the balcony was enclosed by a low wall. It would bark, which then sparked off all those on the campsite. Eventually I got fed up with it and went to speak to Scott, who at that time was the UK company's relief manager and he was standing in for the previous manager who had left.

Scott said he'd pop next door and have a word. However after about a week of no-change I went to see him again. Right, that was it, he was going round to sort it. Almost immediately all the barking stopped. Word went round the campsite that the dog had been taken away by the police and shot (I can't imagine who started the rumour that dogs got three strikes and then they were out) though it did result in Rosina being quite angry with me for reporting the dog resulting in its destruction.

After several days of bliss I went to see Scott to thank him. He told me that on his first visit to the complex he had spoken to the complex security guard who said he would have a word with the owner, which clearly he did not. On Scott's second visit he got to speak to the owner of the dog who apologised profusely and said that in future she would keep the dog off the balcony whilst she was at work.

I went back and told The Chef the story, and that the dog hadn't been shot at all, but she was to tell nobody, because all the time our inconsiderate fellow campers  though their dog was next for the bullet we'd get some peace. After about another week the truth obviously got out and the barking slowly returned to normal within the campsite, which just goes to show the problem lies with the owners, not the dogs, but I did enjoy that couple of weeks of peace.


No newlyweds

FRIDAY 17-5-24

Another peaceful night with my managing not to roll out of bed. The temperatures here have been so much more comfortable, but today was a bit fresher and the cloud built up pretty quickly whilst we were down at Puerto de La Duquesa. The purpose of our stroll out was to visit the English Butcher, which as the name suggests is a butchers shop owned by Brits, so you get meat that is butchered and prepared  the British way. Not cheap but good. We wanted to get a few good beefburgers and sausages before we leave here on Sunday morning.

We then set about trying to find some decent bread within the complex but without luck and so we wandered back and visited the supermarket not far from the campsite. The only problem is we have to cross the road which is a dual carriageway on which, fortunately, they've put a roundabout right where we need to cross, but it's still pretty hairy as visibility of oncoming traffic is restricted.

Once across in one piece we bought a few bits and pieces and I carried back a six-pack of bottled water. Tomorrow we've got to go back over there for more items to stock up before heading for Calahonda for three nights.

Good news about our meeting up with Kim and Dave, Kim had got her dates wrong and it's the following Thursday they fly to the UK and so we're going to meet them for lunch in Mojacar next Thursday.

The rest of today has been nothing much at all. Had we not extended our stay because of the shortage of pitches at our next destination we'd have moved this morning and could have used the motorhome to get the shopping.

We have new neighbours behind us. They a young family from Romania of all places, towing a large caravan. The kids are out playing so we've lost our peace and quiet, but I don't mind that, I'd rather listen to the sound of young children playing than that of a barking dog. Interestingly though they've turned up with something the long-term Brit caravanners in particular arrive with - a roll of artificial grass to roll out on their pitch. Jesus, it will be garden gnomes next.

We have seen nothing at all today of the Spanish couple across the way who are building themselves a long-term fortress. I have to assume they have been arrested for trying to steal garden furniture, and maybe some garden gnomes.

This evening's culinary indulgence was a barbie on which today's burgers and sausages were sacrificed.

Tomorrow will be very much a chores day, but we do hope to finally, actually walk down to the sea. This is about the third time we've been here, the first being for the whole of January 2015, but we've yet to get our feet wet, but as we don't plan to ever come back it's now or never.

THURSDAY 16-5-24

Well, I had a good night's sleep and managed not to roll out of bed. The fact that we're now staying here an extra two days has put a bit of slack in what needs to be done and when.

The first thing I needed to do was send an email to Kim and Dave, two former colleagues, both of whom were Paramedics I worked with in the past. They sold up and moved here several years ago and now live just inland from Mojacar. They kindly invited us to stop by and spend some time with them, and by my latest calculations we would be arriving with them next Wednesday, and I felt we needed to let them know that.

After scrubbing up we wandered in to Sabanillas via Puerto de la Duquesa, firstly for something to do and secondly to find out if the Lidl supermarket there is open on Sunday morning. After a very pleasant walk we discovered that it wasn't which is a bit disappointing as it would have been good to load up before we left that morning. We did though have a bit of a result in the large Chinese shop just across the road from it. I managed to acquire two more strong plastic clips which I can use to help secure the ShadyDays Mk1 sheet to the wind-out awning.

Walking in to town today was far more comfortable as the temperatures here are probably ten degrees less than we've been tolerating the past couple of weeks, with the added bonus of a breeze pretty well most of the time. As with yesterday, we heard almost nothing but Brit voices. It was like being in the north of England, only with sunshine.

Our second stop was the supermarket close to the campsite for a few bits including a pizza for this evenings meal which would have been accompanied by some chips and salad, but sadly they didn't sell oven baked chips, just fryers, so we've got some small potato bits instead. Then it was round the back of the supermarket where there are a few businesses located including a British chippy doubling as a restaurant with a separate menu. We've been there in the past and so booked a table there for Saturday evening. They say location is everything and in the case of businesses like this it is so true. The locals will know It's there of course, but I doubt many of the campers will.

On the way back in to the campsite I showed  the Chef my solution for washing the large mat we place outside the vehicle when parked on campsites. Unfortunately the campsite at El Rocio planted trees which shed small dark fruit which to an untrained eye look a bit like figs, and of course the windfalls get picked up on the bottom of shoes and get taken everywhere. Here they have a dog shower and that's what we'll be using late on Saturday when we do the deed.

We had a new neighbour arrive across from us yesterday. They are Spanish and have a car and caravan. Yesterday they sited their caravan sideways on the pitch which a lot of them do, and then laid two enormous pieces of green matting down on the ground. On to some of that they then erected their awning. Today, whilst she was busy gardening picking up all the dry leaves and twigs out of the borders on both sides of pitch and putting them in to a large bag, he went off shopping. As a consequence they have been busy this afternoon erecting green netting to the boundary fence and part of the front of their pitch, presumably as a windbreak and for a bit of privacy. In to that corner they have constructed what looks like a raised wooden area, on which presumably they will put a table and chairs, though I guess he's yet to go out and buy them. I'm looking forward to see what progress they make tomorrow.

The pictures I am sharing today cover the walk between the Duquesa marina and Sabinillas, because it's unlikely we'll walk that far tomorrow.

When I checked my phone I found an email from Kim telling me that they were flying to the UK first thing on Thursday and were already committed to an evening meal with friends on Wednesday. That was both disappointing and annoying. Disappointing because we won't get to see them and annoying because if we hadn't been pretty much forced to stay here for another two nights because of the pitch shortage at our next destination we could have been with them on Monday.

This evenings fine dining experience was shared between my darling Chef and myself. She produced the chip things and salad and I cooked the pizza in the Weber barbecue using a round steel pizza tray and four crumpet rings just to lift the tray of the hot griddle. It worked well and would have worked even better if I hadn't dropped the barbecue off a box in the garage back home resulting in the aluminium lid being split, and a little bit bent. The trouble I had in trying to get it welded. You'd think I was asking local businesses, professing to be aluminium welding gurus, to weld the hull of a nuclear submarine. That little Weber (I've always bought Weber, an American company, but we shouldn't hold that against them) is the best barbecue I've ever bought and I think I might just try and get the lid replaced when we get home.

Tonight we shall watch the final two episodes of 'The Thick of It'. Sadly yet another TV series that doesn't know when to stop. This final series four was a series too far.


Looking back towards the campsite


Despite our pitch being at the top end of the campsite, thus nearer the road we had a peaceful night, though mine was a bit disturbed because even though we have the levelling ramps under the front wheels we're still noticeably nose-down, and this results in my slowly working my way to the edge of the bed, and ready to roll out.

We didn't bother with breakfast because we thought we might be having lunch down at the marina, but in the end, having got up a bit late and done the hand-washing we had an early lunch before trudging off along the promenade to Sabanillas via La Duquesa marina.

I'd decided to just take the little pocket camera which is stored in the front of the vehicle where my resident photographer, The Chef can easily get to it should there be a crash barrier or tree she fancies taking a picture of as we drive along. It's held in its own small pouch which I attach to my belt. This layer of protection was useful soon after we set off because I left the wide paved path to take a picture and as I went to get back on I hadn't spotted the lip upwards to the path due to the height of the flowers bordering it. That was when I did my Norman Wisdom impression tripping over good and proper, but luckily rolling out of it to reduce the impact. I was lucky enough to get away with two grazed elbows and a very painful stubbed little toe (I was wearing sandals), as well as a rather scuffed camera pouch.

It was a very pleasant walk in to town and we couldn't help but notice how quiet the bars and eateries were in the marina. I had taken some cash and a bank card with me in case I spotted anything I was looking for. Fortunately I returned with a bottle of white Manzanilla sherry and some vacuum packed Imberica ham. The man who will eat anything, Rick Stein, recommended eating the ham with the sherry chilled, so I thought I might give it a try, and if I don't like it I'll go looking for some freeze dried cockroaches. I was also looking for two or three more large, strong crocodile clips to help hold the ShadyDay Mk1 in place on the wind-out awning, but was unlucky there.

On the way back I treated The Chef to a rather nice ice cream down on the promenade. Then it was back home via the nearby supermarket to remind ourselves of what they sell, which fortunately was everything we would need on a day to day basis, saving us having to walk back from town with it.

We were due to leave here Friday morning but before setting off for town I went online to try and book our next destination, but it being a weekend they have no vacancies. This is a recurrent problem for people like us who use the vehicle for its intended purpose - touring. Far too many Brits especially along this Costa Del Boy, are dragging themselves down here, but instead of staying a few days they're booking long-term pitches and getting a discount  for doing so. I don't blame them but the problem is that leaves too few pitches available for the rest of us, especially at weekends when the locals want to bring their families away for  couple of days. Too often we've had problems finding somewhere to stay Friday and Saturday nights.

For this reason I booked and paid for two more nights here for a mere thirty-six Euros a night, and for that price you don't even get your back scrubbed in the showers, just surrounded by loads of Brits. Right now it's like being on a Caravan Club site back home.

This means we'll now be leaving Sunday morning giving us more of a chance of getting a pitch further up the coast that night. I have said to The Chef that this lifestyle is no longer any fun, it's just hard work, so there's not much point in continuing to do it. It looks as if we'll get rid of the vehicle next summer after a possible trip to Austria in September, and a farewell trip around France in the spring.

In the meantime I think we'll need to discuss what happens when we leave here and how much longer we spend in Spain before taking a look at the Pyrenees and home through France.

MONDAY 14-5-24

It was a windy night back at La Linea which made me feel good because it meant that all those Yanks who invaded Gibraltar yesterday from the 'Monster of the Seas' and left port this morning were now getting tossed about a bit in their bunks.

This morning we were hitting the road up the coast a bit. The big disappointment was when we arrived at the dump station we found that the water to fill our tank was non potable (drinkable) which wasn't very helpful at all. We were very low on fresh water and it meant we'd be a bit light on the front end as a consequence. Despite all the precautions I take regarding disinfecting the water tank before each trip we tend to drink bottled water as it makes a lovely cup of coffee and tea, but it's good to have the option of drinking the tank water should we wish.

We hadn't got too far to travel to our next campsite, but before presenting ourselves at the campsite Reception we needed to drive past it to reach the local Lidl store. As usual The Chef went in and did the shopping while I stayed with the vehicle in case it needed to be moved. I was able to spend that time productively and add the pictures from yesterday to the blog. Thankfully I had a strong signal to do so.

We travelled back to the campsite with our fingers crossed because we had not been able to book online due to our internet problems, and as with so many corporate businesses these days they do their utmost not to actually speak to potential customers on the phone.

Luckily when we arrived at Camping La Bella Vista (N36.346303° W5.236671°) which is not far from Manilva we were told they had vacancies. While The Chef was in Reception sorting things out I spotted the manager Scott, who had just taken over when we arrived that first time, nine or ten years ago. I had a quick word and we agreed it was all a long time ago. Reception had five pitches available and we walked around and picked the one we wanted.

When it came time to move the vehicle on to the pitch I was reminded of how narrow the roadways are, complete with tight corners. I decided to back down the short driveway to our pitch.

It is at this point I will remind you of the mindset of the average caravanner. They habitually grab every inch of space within their own pitches and will creep in to their neighbours if they think they'll get away with it. Add to that, having grabbed so much space for their caravan and awning erected on the side of it that they have nowhere to put their car, and so that gets put on a vacant pitch so that when they likes of us come looking for a pitch our choice is limited. Fortunately on this campsite they have created a car park for just such vehicles, and they pay a parking charge for the privilege.

So there I am backing down to our pitch, but finding the turn in to it a bit tight and my front end was swinging a bit close to the edge of the pitch of a typical caravanner. Rather that hit anything I climbed out and moved a dog-carrying trolley affair from right on the boundary telling the fattie sat there watching us what I was doing. He never got up to offer help or anything, not a word.

After swinging on to the pitch The Chef put it back and we were sorted. I had him down for a typical German but having checked the number plate of his big Mercedes SUV tank he popped out in for some groceries, he was a Bulb grower, or maybe an Edam cheese maker.

So here we are at Camping La Bella Vista, we've been here two or three times before. Our first visit was for one month during our first winter in Spain, arriving on New Year's Eve 2014. I was reminded of the saga of the barking dog on a balcony of an apartment on the next door complex. Maybe I'll retell it briefly another day.

We've spent the afternoon chilling out as well as my popping over to the bathroom block and doing some hand washing.

We've had a barbie this evening to use up our last two Waitrose Gourmet sausages and a couple of beefburgers bought here in Spain.

Tomorrow we will be walking down to San Luis de Sabinillas via the well know Duquesa marina which is so often featured on 'Place in the Sun'. On the way back we'll be popping in to the English Butchers for some more goodies.

This evening we'll be watching a DVD. I did buy 'Oppenheimer' before we left thinking if we get a wet day we can stay in and watch it given that it's three or four hours long.

Across the runway one last time

MONDAY 13-5-24

Our lack of internet access over the past week or so has caused some considerable frustration. Often I'm being told we're connected to the MiFi which has connected to the phone system only then to be denied any website. For some reason BT seem to be the hardest to connect with resulting in the crazy situation where it has sometimes been easier to update the blog with text and pictures than to connect with BT and send an email. So it was a restless night as I got up two or three times to see if I could get a connection. Thankfully I was successful at 07:00 this morning, but only to update the blog, not send emails.

It was probably just before eight o'clock that we heard loud tannoy announcements, I guessed what it was. Having dragged ourselves out of bed soon after and enjoying a nice hot shower, with due consideration to the water flow rate as we were on a bit of a slope, I looked outside to see a huge cruise ship. I don't know what it's called. 'Monster of the Seas' probably. It really was a lovely morning with no wind and a comfortable temperature.

We had nothing to do today except have a wander up Main Street again, only this time all the shops will be open. The Chef was interested in looking for one or two more cotton tops, and I was considering buying another bottle of moonshine.

A few years ago, wishing to see the Northern Lights, we booked a cruise with Fred Olsen which was to take us from Portsmouth to the northern coast of Norway. We went ashore a few times, but my word, what a boring country that is, and all we saw of the Northern Lights was a small light green smudge in the sky which just sat there and did nothing. Now I see that back home just about the whole UK is enjoying seeing them and all for free. So we have been on a cruise, we have submitted to becoming one of 'them', but at least our ship only carried about 1200 passengers.

................... but I digress.

As we approached  Passport Control there was a long queue, and the queue carried on within the building, and it was hardly moving. The security chap who cleared us to pass through yesterday (there are automatic passport machines for Europeans and a desk for 'other') came out to those waiting asking who was European. "We are - UK" we said, oh dear me no, we had to remain in the queue with the rest of them. Mind you the Spanish who work on the Rock were able to go through that line, but us, since Brexit, are foreigners, but hang on I thought, the bloody Rock is ours, how can we be viewed as 'Alien'. Oh well, that's our not-fit-for-purpose-work-from-home Foreign Office for you. It took us about forty minutes to get through, not helped by there only being two security staff on duty checking passports, and by then the queue outside was really long. As we left the building I glanced left to see the guy processing Europeans sat at his desk in an empty room. Oh did I mention most people in the queue were Yanks, and I guess they were off the cruise ship.

It was another long walk across the runway. There are a few civilian airlines which are allowed to use this RAF airfield, which is just as well really as the RAF haven't got any planes these days to use on it.

At the bottom of Main Street I caught sight of a couple of beat bobbies coming towards us. I took a very quick picture of them as I would never ask them to pose for one, and then told them I'd taken their picture because back home we just don't see any these days.

We were wandering up the road aimlessly, with The Chef popping in to the odd shop, though she didn't need to go in to M&S as she did that yesterday.

I was getting warm and The Chef felt we should eat before it got too late and so she suggested we go in to the pub we were stood outside of. I had already said I'd buy her lunch as my treat, so I expected her to choose somewhere quite nice. Instead we ate inside the pub sat next to two foul-mouthed Neanderthals from Manchester and ate fish and chips, selling at half the price of anywhere else. Afterwards The Chef confessed they were probably the worst fish & chips she'd ever had, and I couldn't disagree with her. She did tell me later that there's no way the fish was cod, I told her not to tell me, just let me think it was. But whatever it was, given what was in the batter, it wasn't 'line caught' but had died of malnutrition.

We started making our way back soon after that. I was still mindful of buying another bottle of moonshine, but when I had my bag checked yesterday I was told to take the two passports to another counter where they were checked again and something fed in to the computer. I guess they are keeping tabs on those who bring stuff across regularly, and fearing I'd incur their wrath by bringing another bottle over the following day decided not to. Typically of course, before crossing we popped in to a supermarket and bought a few bits and pieces including a pack of kitchen roll so that I could wrap up the two bottles I'd already bought, and as we went through Customs they just took a very quick look in to the top of the carrier bag and we were through, so I could have bought another bottle had I known. The hooch I bought - Pussers Rum, Gunpowder Strength can be bought here for £12.50 a bottle. Back home it retails for about £45.00, so it's not about trying to save a couple of pounds. In fact it has become so expensive back home that it's hard to justify the expense of buying a bottle anymore.

So it was back across the enormous, wide runway for the last time and back home where I used some of the kitchen towel (I could find nowhere selling bubblewrap) to wrap my two bottles up. When we get to our next stop I'll put them away in the cupboard containing the safe.

Tomorrow we're off just up the road, though we haven't been able to book because we have no internet, but I'm sure they'll have vacancies, if not, we'll just move on.

All I've got to do now is try and post this tosh online, and I think that won't be happening until probably tomorrow at 07:00 again.

SUNDAY 12-5-24

I didn't sleep too well as I awoke in the early hours to hear a group of Spanish peasant campers still up and talking outside, quite indifferent to the needs of others. Then after I finally got off it wasn't too long before mother nature's alarm clock went off, in the form of numerous cockerels in the local area crowing in unison. The Chef on the other hand slept like a log.

We were up in good time because we had nothing to stay for at the campsite, and wanted to take a look at a beachside car park near Tarifa.

When checking out The Chef said the owner or manager was in a far better mood today and said we could have the pitch for fifteen Euros rather than the twenty he had quoted us. I didn't intend using the crude dump station facilities before leaving, preferring to hang on to what we had until we reached La Linea for Gibraltar.

Some of our journey was on motorway, but even so, I had to watch the road like a hawk to try and miss, not so much the potholes, as the areas of what I would describe as 'very wrinkled tarmac', and we've had a lot of it on this trip. Wherever possible I sat in the outside lane watching my mirrors for any approaching traffic.

We had agreed that if we couldn't get on to the car park we would move on to La Linea. As the satnav gave us the countdown to our right turn we were keeping a look out for the road, but there was nothing obvious, just what looked like the entrance to a couple of restaurant areas. The Chef wasn't keen to try for a 'U' turn for another look as the road was quite busy, and so we carried on. There were one or two potential parking areas which would have resulted in a bit of a hike down to the beach but we were on top of them before spotting them.

Then I spotted a sign for a campsite which looked good from the road and so we turned off down its access road. Soon The Chef was coming out of Reception saying we must leave the vehicle parked where we were and walk round to find a pitch we wanted. Having walked all the way round we were none too impressed, most of them were quite small, more suited to campers with cars, and with the nightly rate being thirty Euros The Chef suggested we forget it and move on. Which we did, but not before The Chef had told the Receptionist we weren't staying after all, but could she buy a loaf of bread? It's a shame it didn't work out as the long, sandy beach looked really impressive from the road.

So that was that, we were going to La Linea. We were driving on a road that was new to us, we'd never used the coastal road before. In the past we'd used the A381 further inland approaching from Seville. We seemed to spend quite a lot of time up in the mountains on a road with  plenty of twists and turns in it.

Eventually we passed Algeciras, my word, that's a big place. As we approached our marina parking area I had to be careful about what I did, but soon we were parked up at our usual establishment (N36.155601° W5.354221°).

Having crossed the mountains we found the climate on this side less tiring as the temperature was a few degrees lower and with a welcomed breeze.

After lunch we took a walk across the border and on to Gibraltar. This being a Sunday many shops were closed, quite rightly too, so there were fewer people about.

I did buy a couple of bottles of moonshine for which I just happened to be carrying a shopping bag, then it was up Main Street for some window shopping and a browse around Marks & Spencer. It would have been nice to have bought a number of their food items but we just don't have the fridge or freezer capacity.

We've spent a pleasant late afternoon and evening sat outside the vehicle people watching as families walk up and down the wide marina roadway in front of us, just as if it were a seaside promenade.

This evening's gastronomic delight from The Chef was a chicken curry, which gave me the opportunity to get rid of the rest of the popadoms and mango chutney I bought with me, though I don't think I'll bother again.

Internet connection problems in the evenings continue to plague us. I have to just keep trying as the evening progresses to see if I have any luck.

We'll be staying here a couple of nights before moving on up the coast on what will be our farewell mini tour of Spain.

SATURDAY 11-5-24

It was a nice peaceful night, but we were keen to get away after our most welcomed five-night stop at El Rocio. I think we needed that rest after three weeks on the road through Portugal fending for ourselves.

Fearing a queue for the dump station I loaded and unloaded the hard way as we were only across the dusty road from the toilet block. Job done, and with every other little job that is required before setting off we were on our way to Sanlucar de Baramedena.

For some crazy reason that area qualifies for a long section of dual carriageway, but this morning it was of little help to those heading the other way towards El Rocio. It was really busy with lots of slow moving traffic and traffic jams due to the sheer volume of vehicles on the road. The motorway for us became extremely busy around the Seville area which unfortunately we had to go around to pick up other civilised roads. In slow moving traffic across a large bridge across the river the view looked familiar, and sure enough when I looked down to my left briefly there was the Camperstop area we've used in the past to visit Seville, and today it looked as busy as ever.

The next thing we were heading south on the AP4. we were getting bogged down in a lot of stop and start traffic and there didn't appear to be any reason for it .................. until, eventually ahead of us was a group of Roma people and a line of tractors and horses pulling covered carriages and wagons stationary on a bridge across the road. I did consider putting on my wipers as we approached the bridge just in case they'd stopped for a 'comfort break'.  It really was impressive as we looked to our right to see how far the stationary line of wagons stretched for. It must have been at least a mile. I assume they were  the reason for our long delays  as motorists were passing the spot 'rubbernecking'. We didn't allow the sight to slow us down which is a shame really because The Chef's second picture which should have been one showing the length of the line of wagons to our right, became I picture of the underneath of the concrete bridge.

They were still a long way from El Rocio, where over a million people pass through the town during the religious festival where all the area 'brotherhoods' (it's like the Mafia's families, only different) compete for the honour of carrying the 16th century effigy of Our Lady of El Rocio which is contained within the large church built in 1969. I've no idea what competitions they have between themselves to earn the honour, but I'm sure it won't be tearing an ATM machine out of a wall, because these days that job is far better done with a JCB or telehandler.

Soon after that impressive sight we left the motorway and headed west towards Sanlucar de Baramedena. There wasn't much choice of parking places and we ended up as expected at a camperstop only about one hundred yards from the beach (N36.762088 W6.396008). Whilst the Camperstop  Europe 2021 book states the nightly fee as eight Euros, today we were charged twenty Euros, plus four Euros for a mere 4amps of electricity, which we declined because there's nothing you use 4amps for. The Chef has said that the rates were displayed on the office desk and the highest figure mentioned was the twenty Euros, so basically he's ripped us off because we're foreigners. I just hope Google send me a request for a review of the place.

The only saving grace was that we were shown a good, grassy pitch was made a pleasant surprise. I had asked if we could park on the central grassed area but was told very firmly "NO" so I guess that area is reserved for the peak season. As we 'made camp' the place was growing on us despite the price and we thought we might stay for two nights, but first we would have lunch and then wander down to the beach.

What we came across was a very busy bar and restaurant doing a roaring trade, and a beach which was pretty awful. It was low tide and the beach was full of large pebbles, rocks and green marine vegetation growing on them. There was virtually nobody on the beach which amazed us and we had to assume all of the cars parked in the area were there to go to the restaurant, because there is nothing else here. Well at least that made our minds up about a potential second night her. We're back on the road tomorrow.